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Crown Reduction

What is Crown Reduction? 

You might come across a tree that’s missing a few branches or is considerably reduced in size. Such a scenario occurs either when people are in search of timber or more often because the tree has undergone a crown reduction. Crown reduction refers to the process whereby a tree’s branch tips, whole branches, or sometimes large parts of a tree are cut back (for safety reasons).

It’s not apparent to everyone what the crown of a tree is. Well, this the section of a tree between the ground and the 1st branch. It is measured from where the branch starts (minus the main stem).

When done correctly, Crown reduction removes the excess weight from the end of the branches and help the tree back to health which will form a new crown. The result is a tree with a smaller crown, and the process doesn’t disturb the tree’s structural integrity. It’s well documented that crown reduction can limit or even prevent significant limb loss of the tree.

It’s visually clear that crown reduction is required when the tree appears too big for its location. Another instance is where the root system or the tree branches are undergoing severe decay or where a misshaped tree could be harmful to life and properties (telephone lines, power lines, buildings) surrounding the tree. 

Such a procedure is not required when you’re trying to prevent a tree from blowing over in a storm. In this last scenario, crown thinning is recommended, but the procedure should be performed under the advisement of a trained Arboriculturist (tree specialist).

There is a limit to how much you can reduce a tree’s crown. Such factors could be the tree’s particular species, age of the tree, climate, the physical condition of the tree, the time of the year, and the tree’s location.

It’s important to note that when performing crown reduction, you shouldn’t remove all the foliage (remove a little over 30%). As you might cause the tree to grow back quicker than usual, making it prone to defects along the branches (defeating the original purpose).

Here are the features of crown reduction:

1. Two-thirds of the crown remains after the procedure.

2. Less of the live crown is removed.

3. Smaller cuts are left, so there’s a little room for decay. 

The best possible time to carry out such an exercise is during the winter (when most trees are dormant). However, there are sometimes where crown reduction is necessary when trees are in full leaf. The worst possible time to undergo this procedure is during spring because of the sap’s increase, which can bleed from the tree.

Note: Tipping, shearing, topping, and rounding over aren’t the correct techniques for reducing the sizes of crowns because such methods can compromise the tree’s structure and such are harmful to trees


We have an experienced team of professionals who will help you consider your options and give you advice. Please contact us for information and a no-obligation quote.